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Deeper Learning: A Collaborative Classroom Is Key

Deeper Learning: A Collaborative Classroom Is Key
What's ideal when it comes to collaboration in our classrooms? Here's one coveted scenario: several children gathered at a table engaged in a high-level task, discussing, possibly debating an issue, making shared decisions, and designing a product that demonstrates all this deeper learning. As teachers, we'd love to see this right out the gate, but this sort of sophisticated teamwork takes scaffolding. It won't just happen by placing students together with a piece of provocative text or an engaging task. (Heck, this deeper learning collaboration is challenging for most adults!) In preparing our students for college and careers, 21st century skills call on us to develop highly collaborative citizens -- it's one of the 4 Cs, after all. So how do we begin this scaffolded journey? Establish Group Agreements Deciding on group norms, or agreements, right at the get go will give each student a voice and provide accountability for all. Teach Them How to Listen Teach Them How To Negotiate

Related:  Collaborative / Cooperative LearningWebsites / ReadingsCollaborationStudent generated contentDeeper Learning

Starting a New School Year: Nine Tips for Collaboration Late August or early September is a make-it-or-break-it time for educators. The non-stop, brutal schedule that is a school year starts with all the finesse of trampling elephants, and doesn’t relent for the next nine months (not coincidentally, the same amount of time it takes to gestate a baby). That makes starting the year right important -- and there are few more critical pieces to an educator's success than collaboration. Collaborating In the Classroom 1) Call Home Make your move – Sit less – Be active for life! Make your move – Sit less – Be active for life! Regardless of how young or old you are, there are physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines available for you. Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines are supported by a rigorous evidence review process that considered: the relationship between physical activity (including the amount, frequency, intensity and type of physical activity) and health outcome indicators, including the risk of chronic disease and obesity; and the relationship between sedentary behaviour/sitting time and health outcome indicators, including the risk of chronic disease and obesity. The Evidence Review Reports provide a summary of the scientific evidence that supports Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.

Collaborative Skills Class norms represent the behavior expectations that support the core concepts of trust, sharing, belonging and respect. Collaborative skills are the specific ways in which students are expected to behave in order to achieve class norms. After norms have been developed, collaborative skills are assessed, prioritized and taught. Collaborative skills that we have identified as promoting the core concepts and supporting class norms are listed below. This list of collaborative skills has been used successfully by instructional teams to identify skills that address the ways students and teachers should interact to realize class norms. The list is not exhaustive and some classrooms may have to add skills to fully meet their needs.

ESL Discussions Creating good ESL discussions in your class is a skill like any other. Sometimes discussions fail before they've really started. The reason is usually because the discussion task is not clear, too hard for the students, or doesn't exist at all. Starting the Year on a Positive Note Back in May, I asked readers to think of five things they'd done well over the last school year. I followed it up with a post on my personal blog reflecting on what I thought I did well. Now it's time for the school year to rev up again, and I'm hoping to not only keep doing what I did well, but also set some goals for the coming year. As this blog is a tech integration blog, I want you to think about something you want to do better or something new you want to try this year.

Collaborative Learning Builds Deeper Understanding Steve Chabon: Here at the College Preparatory School in Oakland, California, collaborative learning is one of the most important ways our students learn and grow. Harrison: In math we work in groups every day, asking each other questions before we ask the teacher. Maya: In English, we lead our own round table discussions to deepen our understanding of the books we read. David Markus: College Prep is one of the top private high schools in the country and a terrific model for collaborative learning. The good news, their practices are both replicable and affordable. The Other 21st Century Skills: Why Teach Them Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase). I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner: Critical thinking and problem-solvingCollaboration across networks and leading by influenceAgility and adaptabilityInitiative and entrepreneurshipEffective oral and written communicationAccessing and analyzing informationCuriosity and imagination

Express 6.11 - Tips for New Teachers: Teaching Collaborative Skills to a Digital Generation Lynn Bechtel In Grown Up Digital, Don Tapscott (2008) notes that immersion in a digital environment has yielded students who thrive when teachers use "a student-focused model [of teaching] based on collaboration" (p. 11). Students' widespread use of digital devices to contact friends and access social media leads them to expect—and feel very comfortable with—collaboration. For savvy teachers, students' interest in connecting with one another can open the door to teaching important collaborative work skills.

Larry Ferlazzo, Teacher (This article was originally published in the September, 2006 issue of "Language Magazine" under the title "Building Cathedrals in the ESL Classroom.") By Larry Ferlazzo In a previous article for “Language Magazine” I talked about specific tactics that ESL teachers could implement in their classrooms using community organizing methodology. The four I described – building relationships, building on prior knowledge, identifying what students want to learn, and learning by doing -- can all be effectively used on their own.

Collaboration Matters Blogger's note: This post focuses on the importance of integrating collaboration into classroom practice. In my next post, I'll talk about strategies for successful facilitation of collaborative work. A Learned Skill Sharing my rough writing with others is a miserable experience. I know that outside input is a crucial part of revision, yet I squirm uncomfortably as those I trust make comments and probe with questions.

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